The budworm spruce back

La tordeuse des bourgeons de l’épinette de retour

The budworm spruce budworm is back in full force in several regions of Quebec.

The affected area last year reached 9.6 million hectares in Québec, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. Researchers closely monitor this outbreak, which began on the North Shore in 2005.

“Usually, an epidemic lasts fifteen to twenty years on a same territory”, said Yan Boulanger, a researcher in forest ecology at natural Resources Canada. “So, we begin to see, for the past few years, mortality in the fir, among others. One might expect that, in the next few years, there has been a certain decrease of the epidemic, but it remains difficult to predict.”

The temperatures are relatively warm, recorded in the last few weeks have accelerated the development of the budworm the spruce. The transformation of the caterpillar into a butterfly is expected to occur earlier this year.

“Therefore, one could expect that, in the next few days, we can already see some butterflies flying in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and the Gaspé peninsula, even as it is begun in some places, and, on the North Shore, it should not delay, in advance of 10 days compared to the previous year”, noted Mr. Baker.

The scattering of butterflies, a phenomenon sometimes impressive, can be followed by a weather radar. The Val-d’irène, in Bas-Saint-Laurent, however, is not in service this summer for an upgrade. If the data acquisition can not be done this year with this tool, a more recent technology will allow in the future to collect more accurate information on the populations of moths on the move in eastern Quebec.

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